Monthly Archives: September 2012

Adam the First

Genesis states that man was formed from dust of the ground, and this first man, Adam, went on with Eve to populate the Earth. This happened before 4000 BC, according to Bishop James Ussher (1581-1656), who precisely dated the creation of everything as occurring the night before Sunday, October 23, 4004 BC.

Modern cosmological evidence puts the date of the universe a bit earlier, roughly 13.75 billion years ago, give or take a few decades. Presumably the first human came after this, though the exact date depends on how you define “first human.”

But this large placard, in Howard County, Maryland, suggests Adam the First dates back to sometime before 1668. This opens up the intriguing possibility that Adam is younger than Bishop Ussher, which would certainly be a surprise to the Bishop.

Adam the First

Adam the First.

Do-it-yourself iPhone 5 advertising

Apple had billions of dollars worth of free pre-release advertising for the iPhone 5, ranging from publicity on news programs to slick ads produced by various mobile phone vendors and resellers.

And then there was this Radio Shack store in Columbia, Maryland. Want to grab everyone’s attention? Use a white board and not one, not two, but three different colors of marking pen! Complete with a somewhat odd happy face and sparkling stars.

iPhone 5 advertisement hand-written on a white board.

One Radio Shack store in Columbia, Maryland, used a high-tech white board and colored markers to advertise the iPhone 5.

Poor memory management

For most of human history, people had only their own memories for storing information. Most people who have lived did not know how to read or write, and if they wanted to remember something, they had to memorize it. Stories and poetry helped people to remember things.

With the advent of mass printing, and then typewriters, duplicators and photocopying machines, the printed word came into its own. Memory could be put to paper; the memories could be profound — the Iliad, the Bible, Shakespeare — or trivial: an order for a hamburger and fries.

One of the great advances of the latter part of the 20th Century was the mechanization, then automation, of memory. Originally, computers were designed to compute: they were custom-made for things that could be added, subtracted, multiplied and divided things. Today, by far the largest and most important use of computers is for memory: storing photos, songs, movies, bank records, electronic books, and anything else that can be described with ones and zeros.

Alas, automated memory is not perfect, as seen in this photo. A shopping mall placed a computer in the ceiling over a hallway in a shopping mall, with a projector pointing down onto the floor, advertising something. Exactly what was being advertised is not clear; the poor Windows XP computer had a memory management problem, and projected its problems onto the floor instead of the advertising.

Memory management and the blue screen of death.

Memory management caused this Windows XP machine to spill its guts all over the shopping mall floor.